Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Effective Communications’ Category

Listen To Both Sides Of The Situation

In Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on July 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

 

If you’re a parent of two children you already know that when the two are fighting and child #1 tells you what happened, you then ask child #2 what happened, and most often the truth is somewhere in the middle of what the two children have told you.

Surprisingly, many managers, even when they are parents, don’t use this parenting “discovery” skill in the workplace. Instead, they often listen to only one side of a situation. Whether it is because of lack of interest or lack of time, they don’t proactively seek out the other side of the story.

The unfortunate result is those managers form incorrect perceptions that can often lead to poor decisions and/or directives.

So, the next time two employees are at odds, or when one department complains about another department within your organization, take the time to listen to all sides of the situation to discover the truth that’s in the middle.

How To Be Brief

In Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on April 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

Author Joseph McCormack offers these six tips for ways of making your written communication shorter and more appealing:

  1. Deliver a strong title or subject line that’s your invitation.
  2. Limit your email to the original window.
  3. Make sure there is white space and balance throughout the text.
  4. Call out key ideas by calling them out in bold type.
  5. Start each bullet point with a strong word or catchy phrase.
  6. Trim the fluff — anything that’s unnecessary, leaving a consumable and concise size communication

You can learn more helpful tips in his new book, Brief:  Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less.

A Different Way To Ask For Customer Feedback

In Customer Engagement, Customer Service, Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Listening Skills, Management on August 9, 2013 at 6:24 am

Eric Jacobson Leadership

Consider this advice from author Paul R. Timm.  He recommends a different twist on asking your customers questions:

  • stop asking your customers the “typical” questions and instead ask them open-ended questions.

Here’s specifically what Timm recommends:

Don’t Ask:

  • How was everything?
  • Can I get you something else?
  • Did you find everything you need?
  • Will that be all?
  • Was everything satisfactory?

Instead Ask:

  • What else can I do for you?
  • What else can I get for you?
  • What else can I help you with?
  • What else could we do to better serve you?
  • How else can we be of help?

These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs.  Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers.

Brian Tracy Releases New Pocket-Sized Motivation Guide For Leaders

In Brian Tracy, Effective Communications, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Management, Motivating Employees, Motivation on May 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

motivation

All you need is one hour to read Brian Tracy‘s newest, pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation.

“You cannot motivate other people,” explains Tracy, “but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves.  All motivation is self-motivation.  As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously.”

In the book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.

Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.

Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees.  “Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs:  Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.

  • Practice consideration by expressing an interest in your employees as individuals.
  • Express caring for your staff members by listening attentively and with compassion.
  • Express courtesy toward employees by showing personal regard and respect for each person — especially under stress, when a situation goes wrong, or when a worker makes a mistake.

“Your job as a manager is to make sure that you are getting along well with all of your employees and they are all getting along well with you,” stresses Tracy.

Open-ended Questions To Ask Your Customers

In Customer Service, Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Management on March 12, 2013 at 6:35 am

Eric Jacobson Leadership

Consider this advice from author Paul R. Timm.  He recommends a different twist on asking your customers questions:

  • stop asking your customers the “typical” questions and instead ask them open-ended questions.

Here’s specifically what Timm recommends:

Don’t Ask:

  • How was everything?
  • Can I get you something else?
  • Did you find everything you need?
  • Will that be all?
  • Was everything satisfactory?

Instead Ask:

  • What else can I do for you?
  • What else can I get for you?
  • What else can I help you with?
  • What else could we do to better serve you?
  • How else can we be of help?

These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs.  Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers.

The Difference Betweeen Coaching And Counseling Is Important

In Coaching, Counseling, Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Leadership, Management on February 24, 2013 at 6:05 am

A good manager is both a coach and a counselor.  Generally, coaching should precede counseling.

As a coach, a manager:

  • identifies an employee’s need for instruction and direction

and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals.  Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship.

You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals.  It’s best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified.

As a counselor, a manager:

  • first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee’s work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem.

So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important.  And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her book, “The Essential HR Handbook,” a good manager who is both a coach and a counselor:

  • Motivates employees to do good work
  • Reinforces good performance
  • Encourages employees to stretch
  • Sets clear expectations
  • Provides positive feedback on an ongoing basis
  • Provides constructive feedback on a timely basis
  • Acknowledges employees’ progress toward their goals

The Power And Value Of Saying “Nice Bike”

In Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Management on February 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

Have you said “Nice Bike” to someone today?

Perhaps I was just in the mood for an uplifting, motivating and humorous presentation when I heard Emmy award winning author and speaker Mark Scharenbroich at a conference awhile back.

Yes, I was in that mood. But, more importantly, Mark delivered a vitally important message and shared the power of making meaningful connections in one’s personal and professional life.

He also totally hit it out of the park with his presentation in which he shared stories from his book, Nice Bike – Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life. He explained the power of saying “Nice Bike” to someone – the engine that is fueled with:

  • acknowledging
  • honoring
  • connecting

…with that person.

You can read the book, each chapter a personal story/lesson of Mark’s, in an afternoon. And, without revealing those stories, my top two takeaways from the book and the presentation are:

  • Focused listening is one of the biggest honors we can bestow on others.
  • It is more important to be interested than interesting (as stated by former United States House of Representatives Barbara Jordan)

Mark is also the author of:

  • The Fred Factor
  • You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader
  • The Encore Effect

At the end of Mark’s presentation I immediately sent a Tweet on what a great job he had done.

“Nice Bike” Mark.

Be A Leader Who Teaches

In Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Motivating Employees on February 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

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Take the opportunity today to teach an employee something new. Nearly everyone likes to learn and is capable of tackling a new challenge.

  • Teach your employee something that expands his (or her) current job description.
  • Teach something that will help him to get promoted within your organization at a later date.
  • Teach him a skill that uses new technology.
  • Or, teach him something that will allow him to be a more skilled leader and manager in the future.

You can even teach something that you no longer need to be doing in your position, but that will be a rewarding challenge/task for your employee.

The benefit to your employee is obvious. The benefit to you is you’ll have a more skilled team member who is capable of handling more work that can help you to grow your business and/or make it run more efficiently.

Be a leader who teaches.

How To Give Constructive Feedback — 4 Steps

In Constructive Feedback, Effective Communications, Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Feedback, Leadership, Leadership Education, Motivating Employees on January 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Effective Listening

Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk. They provide the following great advice about giving feedback:

1. Make it timely — give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.

2. Make it individualized — tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.

3. Make it productive — focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.

4. Make is specific — pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

Book Review: Change-friendly Leadership

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Quotes, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Management, Motivating Employees, Setting Goals, Team Building on November 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

Because Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan delivers so much timely, straight-forward and relevant wisdom in his new book, Change-friendly Leadership, reading it is like talking with your trusted best friend. Or, listening to your favorite teacher.  Or, soaking in the thoughts from your respected mentor.

That’s why you’ll want to spend plenty of time reading the book.  Reflecting on the messages.  Absorbing the discussion,  And, then likely re-reading it.  Or, at least certain sections.

Duncan demonstrates in the book how humanness, approachability, and friendliness are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful in an organization.

He teaches leaders the foundation for effectively engaging people’s heads, hearts and hopes — all necessary to enable effective and lasting (sustainable) change in today’s constantly changing world.  Duncan refers to this as leading the whole person.

According to Duncan:

  • Change must accommodate people’s feelings–feelings that involve trust, confidence, passion, and all those other intangible but very real things that make us human.

Duncan’s change-friendly leadership approach includes knowing how to leverage the Champions, Agents, Sponsors and Targets within your organization.  And, how to combine tough love elements into the process while always operating from a platform of respect and caring, not intimidation and contention.

Readers will appreciate the “Bonus Points” offerings at the end of each major section of the book where they learn how to access free white papers, diagnostic tools, videos and other items by going to a URL or using a QR code via their Smart phone.

You’ll also likely enjoy as I did all the great leadership quotes sprinkled throughout the book, such as these:

  • Losing good people is costly.  But the number one most expensive thing that can happen to your organization is for your best and most capable people to quit and stay.
  • It’s often the stress that people resist, not the change itself.
  • A transactional leader focuses on routine and regimented activities.  A transformational leader focuses primarily on initiating and “managing” change.
  • It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change — Charles Darwin.
  • The key to change is to let go of fear — Roseanne Cash
  • Amateurs practice until they get it right.  Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.

Thanks to Cave Henricks for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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